Last Friday, we were privileged to host a wonderful celebration of the national Opening Mass of the Fortnight for Freedom at our Basilica in Baltimore. There was a tremendous turnout and a lively spirit present as we prayed together in support of the religious freedom we cherish as Americans and people of faith.
The Mass kicked off this national two-week period leading up to Independence Day which, for a second consecutive year, the Catholic Church in the United States has set aside to draw attention to the need to actively resist erosions of religious liberty so that faith can continue to enrich our public life.
After all, faith plays an integral role in our efforts to promote the common good. Faith inspires people to serve their neighbors, it brings people together, it enriches the national conversation on important public issues, and it centers the lives of countless Americans. And religious liberty protects this important role that faith plays.
As you read this column, it is my hope that you are prayerfully considering the role faith plays in your own life and how you might help defend religious liberty rights during this Fortnight and beyond it. We can do this by:
- Prayer—Conversing with the Lord so that we might become effective instruments in His hands and others will be given the grace to make prudent decisions;
- Education—Staying informed about the increasing challenges these rights face, and the reasons they are integral to a just society; and,
- Action—Engaging in the electoral process and in the public debate on issues challenging our religious liberty rights.
Pope Francis recently proclaimed: we’re not called to be “part-time Christians,” we’re called “to live our faith at every moment of every day.” As we strive to answer this call during the Fortnight and beyond, we know that religious freedom protects more than the freedom to worship on Sunday; it also protects our ability to live out our faith in the public square the other six days of the week.